When we hear the term “pot smoker,” we usually conjure up images of young kids, not someone’s 80-year-old grandmother or a retired schoolteacher. But a lot of Baby Boomers are coming forward and admitting to using cannabis.
According to a New York Times article, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this generation and their kids – raised in the groovy 60’s and 70’s – have a relaxed attitude towards marijuana. This demographic first suggested legalizing cannabis back in 1971, and Baby Boomers smoking marijuana have been a common sight since.
According to 2011 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, use of cannabis jumped dramatically from 2002 among those 50 to 59 years of age, from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 6.3 percent just nine years later. And evidence suggests that the uptick can be attributed to social use more so than medical application of the drug.
For Cher Neufer, a former schoolteacher and self-proclaimed hippy, smoking pot is a habit that ensued in her twenties, and she has never stopped since. Instead of sharing conversations over a beer, she and her friends prefer having a joint.
Eighty-two year-old grandmother Helen Shuller agrees that marijuana produces a lot fewer negative side effects than prescription pain pills or alcohol. Shuller admits she loves how marijuana relieves symptoms of her arthritis without making her feel ill or tired.
Diane-Marie Williams, a grandmother and the executive director of administration for the group Moms for Marijuana International, says that people have more lax attitudes toward marijuana as they get older for various reasons. Many, she claims, feel as if they’ve already raised their kids and no longer have to be consumed with setting a good example. And, because a good portion of these individuals are retired, it is also no longer a threat to their career.
While the risks of getting caught using marijuana in states that have not legalized it are minimal, understanding the risks of self-medicating is also very important.